[Advaita-l] Shankara authenticates Shiva

Sujal Upadhyay sujal.u at gmail.com
Thu Aug 18 10:18:43 CDT 2016


It is possible that we may have wrong understanding about shAstra-s.
Opinion of Adi Sankara is considered as final.

The point here is that one says - only viShNu is considered as Brahman by
Adi Sankara and so only he is worthy of worship, not Siva. So those
worshiping Siva or any other devi / devatA are not following Adi Sankara.
If accepted or unanswered, this claim may result in collapse of faith and
mistrust in saints, forefathers and tradition that is being followed since
generations by those worshiping anya-devatA (other God than viShNu). Some
members reply to this claim and quote to support generally accepted view of
many forms, one God philosophy.


According to some, Adi Sankara only praised nArAyaNa / viShNu as supreme.
Siva / rudra was born and hence is not of equal status as that of viShNu.
The claim is that this is the opinion of bhagavadpAda himself.

There are others who after studying commentaries and those following
traditional adviata and / or adhere to any of the Sankara mathas say that
Adi Sankara whenever, in his commentaries on prasthAntraya, he mentioned
viShNu / nArAyaNa, then he does not refer to caturbhuja viShNu. It is
formless Brahman. Adi Sankara accepted other forms like Siva, Adi Sakti,
etc as forms of Ishvara. Adi Sankara didn't denigrate status of any deity.
Contradictory opinion is that viShNu can exist as both saguNa and nirguNa,
but as a form of Ishvara, only viShNu is praised by Adi Sankara. Siva was
created or born and hence cannot be Ishvara. Hence worshiping viShNu is the
only one worthy of worship, not Siva.

The presumption is that only saguNa viShNu can renounce his mAyA can enter
into nirguNa state. However, IMO, this is not true. When nirguNa Brahman is
mentioned by any name, be it Siva or viShNu, it does not matter, as it is
nirguNa and nirAkAra. In mANDukya Up. the word Siva which refers to Atman
is used. Siva of mANDukya Up. (comprising of 12 verses) is not umApati or
saguNa Brahman. There are references quoted by Adi Sankara who accept Siva
/ rudra i.e. umApati as saguNa Brahman. So just like viShNu, Siva too is
both saguNa andnirguNa.

The problem with only viShNu can be both saguNa and nirguNa is that other
commentaries like viShNu sahasranAma, kena Up, and various stotra-s
atrributed to Adi Sankara and commented by pUrvAchArya-s are not taken into
account. The reason is that many western scholars have considered other
works as wrongly attributed to Adi Sankara. Then there are passages that
contain praises of Siva as Brahman. They are interpreted as that ultimately
belonging to viShNu. If one fails to interpret, then they are dubbed as
'interpolations'. The ways of determining authenticity of any verse of
authenticity of attribution to Adi Sankara are limited and at times a
result of tunneled vision. We have examples like MadhusUdan SarasvatI,
vidyAraNya svAmI and appaya dikshita who composed hymns or have written
commentaries on anya-devatA i.e. devatA other than their IshTa devatA). All
these are also considered as interpolations. Even commentaries like
mAnasollAsa on dakShiNAmurty stotra are rejected, just because writing
style is different than Brahma sUtra commentary which, the Self acclaimed
or academic scholars, consider as 'undoubtedly authentic'.

So the basic tenets of advaita re objected, commentaries, stotra-s are
rejected, verses of upanishads, mahAbhArata and purANa-s are considered as
interpolations. It times large portion like the whole Santi parva of
mahAbhArta, uttara khaNDa of padma purANa, etc are considered as
interpolations. Many upanishads are considered as fabricated, or a later
day creation some claimed to be created in 16th century. Even his
biography, Sankara digvijaya' is rejected for various reasons. Removal of
all these references makes things difficult to convey that Adi Sankara
didnt denigrate anya-devatA. Are you getting my point?

I am not pointing out to any member of this list, but I have seen a few
vaiShNava-s outside this list and at times in my mail communication that
they go on to the extent of hating advaita, Adi Sankara, dubbing advaita s
mAyAvAda, etc. Then there are those who will try their best to prove Adi
Sankara meant 'viShNu is Brahman' and will quote commentaries in support of
their claim. Since commentaries are quoted, it is taken seriously. Hence
certain people reply to these claim quoting commentaries form scriptures
and using logic.  When replied, they will claim verses are 'interpolated',
but as per my knowledge, I have not seen any valid reason given by those
who are rejecting verses as interpolation. There are always counter
replies, hence it's always back to square one.

Dont worry, advaita has stood the test of time. When nothing more is left
to logically argue, hopefully, even this discussion will come to be end.


On Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 8:11 PM, Ravi Kiran via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaste
> Based on Sruti or bhAshya refs, one may accept Vishnu as vedAntic Brahman
> (Ishwara) while other may accept Shiva as vedAntic Brahman (Ishwara) while
> some other may accept yet another. (at vyavahArika)
> Why is there a need to establish or claim, based on these refs, that Vishnu
> or Shiva alone as vedAntic Brahman, while refuting the other ?
> Is it because of the reality is invested in both Vishnu and Shiva, that one
> needs to be negated completely from Ishwaratva, so that the other alone can
> be given the Ishwara status ?
> Pl share the contextual background behind these sharings of viewpoints or
> observations..
> Thanks

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